Master of Design student
Bachelor of Design in Textile Design
Through design she can best understand, engage in and express life, says Ella Augusta who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of Design in Textile Design and is now enrolled in a Master of Design specialising in textile and experimental design.
“From a young age, I’ve been interested in the different elements of design – colour, line, form and space – and understood them as ways of communication. Growing through my adolescence, I became more aware of design’s cultural, political and rebellious nature and was hooked. I always knew that design and creative expression was my direction. Being neurodiverse, I often use alternative ways of communicating when the spoken word fails to fully encapsulate my ideas.
“For my Master of Design, I’m looking into the relationship between humans and the natural world. The interconnections of the mind, body and nature will be investigated through the lens of environmental identity, biomorphism and the philosophical ideas underlying the biophilia hypothesis. The use of bio-textiles will create ‘landscapes’ of thought to evoke questioning of self-conception through which an understanding of our interactivity will be explored.”
Ella’s master’s degree research is being supervised by Associate Professor Mandy Smith and Sue Jowsey from AUT’s School of Art and Design.
Opportunities to grow
The supportive environment is one of the things Ella has enjoyed most about her time at university.
“I’ve really enjoyed the support at AUT, not only from the academic staff but from my peers as well. Having the support and feeling like people have got your back allows you to take those bigger risks, in your work and in your thinking, pushing you to do more and be relentless about your ideas.
“University is your time to focus on what you've got to say and develop that voice through your work. The support and community of the School of Art and Design enables you to get involved, explore and experiment with new ideas, encouraging the dedication and curiosity needed for creative, academic and personal growth.”
Another highpoint for her was going on a student exchange to the Amsterdam Fashion Institute (AMFI) in the Netherlands in the second year of her Bachelor of Design.
“During my time on student exchange, I was able to expand my knowledge of fashion and design not only by attending my classes at AMFI but also by visiting the beautiful art galleries and museums in Amsterdam, London and Paris, as well as exploring the vibrant music and club scenes. Having that time in a new environment, being way outside of my comfort zone, and being open to new experiences, new people and new ideas has been one of the most significant learning points in my life and education so far.”
Advice for other students
Ella has some great advice for other students thinking about studying art and design.
“Be resilient and relentless about your visions. Share ideas, materials and laughter. Work hard but have fun; otherwise, what’s the point. Be kind and interested in other people. Engage your brain but follow your heart.”
She would highly recommend the art and design programmes to anyone with a passion for design and the drive to put in the work. But, she adds, you have to be ready.
“It’s a strange time to be or want to be a designer – the world is quite literally on fire and at times it can be hard not to feel disillusioned by the realities of the industry. But what is the role of the designer if not being able to adapt, redefine and reimagine new ideas and ways of seeing? I believe that the designer – along with scientists, poets, artists and engineers – has an important and urgent role to play in mitigating the devastating environmental destruction humans, colonialism and infinite growth economies have created.”
*The Bachelor of Design is now known as Te Tohu Paetahi mō te Hoahoa - Bachelor of Design.